1.1 Background to the study

The concept of poverty and material deprivation is a critical one in contemporary social discussions. Social sciences’ literature is replete with attempts by economists and other social scientists to conceptualize the phenomenon. Poverty is a vicious circle which keeps the poor in a state of destitution and disillusionment. Poverty affects many aspects of human conditions; hence there has been no universal consensus on the definition. The concept of poverty which reflects it numerous visible attributes is multi-dimensional in nature. Attributes of poverty may be classified into structural, economic, social, cultural and political deprivations. The structural dimensions appear more permanent and manifest a vicious circle, reflecting limited productive resources, lack of skills for gainful employment, location disadvantages and inadequate income to obtain the basic necessities of life. Basically poverty has been conceptualized into lack of access to basic needs/goods and lack of or impaired access to productive resources.

Poverty as lack of access to basic needs/goods is essentially economic or consumption-oriented. Thus, the poor are conceived as those individuals or households in a particular society, incapable of purchasing a specified basket of basic goods and services. Basic goods as used here include; food, shelter, water, healthcare, access to productive resources including education, working skill and tools, political and civil rights to participate in decisions concerning socio-economic conditions Anyebe AA (2001) . It is generally agreed that in conceptualizing poverty, low income or low consumption is its symptom.

The level of poverty in Nigeria since the implementation of SAP in the 1980s has tremendously increased. The poverty profile in Nigeria showed that the incidence of poverty increased from 28.1% in 1980 to 43.6% in 1985 but declined to 42.7% in 1992 and rose again to 65% in 1996. The UNDP Human Development Indices (HDI) for 2001 ranked Nigeria the 142nd with HDI of 0.40 among the poorest countries. From 1980-1996, the population of the poor Nigerians increased four folds in absolute terms. The analysis of the depth and severity of poverty in Nigeria showed that rural areas were the most affected. Several reasons accounted for the situation viz., the large concentration of the populace in the rural areas, and many years of neglect of the rural areas in terms of infrastructural development and lack of information on the way government are being run.

The CBN/World Bank study on poverty Assessment and Alleviation in Nigeria attested to the fact that the living environmental conditions of those living in the rural areas have worsened. Urban poverty is also on the increase in the country. This has been attributed to the under provision of facilities and amenities which are already inadequate to match the growing demand of the urban populace as well as the ruralurban movement which has caused serious pressure on the existing infrastructural facilities.

Over the years, the Federal Government has undertaken some programmes with the objectives of reducing if not totally eradicating poverty in Nigeria. These programmes were at least expected to raise the standard of living of Nigerians. Some of these programmes include; The Family Support Programme (FEAP), the establishment of Community Banks and Small Scale Industries Credit Scheme, People’s Bank, the National Agricultural Land Development Agency (NALDA), the Rural Employment Programme (REP), National Directorate of Employment (NDE), etc., however, the impact of these programmes on alleviating poverty has been contentious as the desired results of these programmes are not achieved. With the return of democracy on May 29, 1999 the Federal Government embarked on poverty reduction programme specifically, the government put up the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) in the year 2000 which took off in 2001.

This study attempts to evaluate national poverty eradication programme and grass roots development in Obowo LGA of Imo

1.2 Statement of problem

Today, poverty is widely addressed as a global problem. Poverty affects over four billion people. It is important to know that most of the poor people live in the developing worlds of Africa, Asia and Latin America (Gbosi, 2004). On the average, 45-50% of Sub-Saharan Africans live below the poverty line. And in Nigeria about 60.9% of the population was living below the poverty line of one dollar (0.63 pounds) a day in 2010 prices (NBS, 2012). In 1980, the poverty level was only 28.1% but by 1996 it had jumped to 66.6%. Having been mindful of the implications to the economy, the government needs to make concerted efforts in order to reduce poverty in the country. Different poverty eradication programmes and project to cushion the effects of poverty have been initiated over the years. This was receiving with high hopes.

Data show that over N30 billion from 2001 till date have been received by NAPEP for the fight against poverty in Nigeria. Unfortunately poverty level seems to be unresponsive to these windfall of resources addressed for the fight. In spite of this huge resources devoted to NAPEP, deterioration in fiscal discipline, corruption and inconsistent policies which had undermined past efforts still makes poverty eradication in Nigeria a paradox. The rate of unemployment has continued to rise and the poverty situation has exacerbated.

This study is aimed at evaluating the effects of government policies on poverty eradication. This is with regards to the activities of NAPEP in Obowo Local Government Area of Imo State.

1.3 Research questions

This research seeks to answer the following questions:

i. How does NAPEP plan to reduce poverty of the people of Obowo LGA of Imo State i.e., what specific methods are employed by NAPEP to reduce poverty in Obowo?

ii. How has NAPEP’s activities impacted on poverty reduction in Obowo LGA?

iii. What are the root causes of poverty in Obowo LGA of Imo State?

iv. What specific changes in approach (if any) are needed to alleviate poverty in Obowo, bearing in mind the peculiar needs of this locality?

1.4 Objective of the study

Broadly, the objective of this study is to examine the impact of the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) on poverty reduction in Obowo LGA.

Specific objectives are to:

i. Examine how NAPEP plan to reduce poverty of the people of Obowo LGA of Imo State i.e., to examine specific methods employed by NAPEP to reduce poverty in Obowo.

ii. Examine how NAPEP’s activities impacted on poverty reduction in Obowo LGA.

iii. Investigate the root causes of poverty in Obowo LGA of Imo State.

iv. Determine specific changes in approach (if any) needed to alleviate poverty in Obowo, bearing in mind the peculiar needs of this locality.

1.5 Hypothesis of the study

The hypothesis that was tested in this research is as follows:

H0: National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) has not impacted significantly on poverty eradication in Obowo LGA.

H1: National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) has impacted significantly on poverty eradication in Obowo LGA.

1.6 Significance of the study

The central idea in any piece of work is to educate and provide information on the topic of research for the general public. The immediate concern of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) and other government policies on poverty reduction using poverty indicators and identifying the causes of poverty and also suggest suitable and effective measures for poverty reduction in Nigeria. This research work is therefore significant/useful to the both Federal, State and Local Government Administrators and also future researchers. To the government and policy-makers, it identifies and reveals the successes and failures, challenges and prospects of NAPEP and affords them the opportunity of designing and implementing a holistic approach, procedures and strategies, and better ways of tackling this hydraheaded menace called poverty.

To the students and fellow researchers, it reveals the operations and the impact of NAPEP on the people. While it serves as an addition to the stock of knowledge, it also serves as a basis for further research.

1.7 Scope of the study

This study is on the impact of National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) and the effectiveness of Federal Government policies on poverty reduction/eradication. It also provides information on the activities of NAPEP, the success and failure, challenges and prospects of NAPEP. In order to be focus properly on this programme, the study covers a period of 11 years (2001-2012) in Obowo LGA of Imo State.

1.8 Limitation of the study

This study like most human endeavours is not devoid of some limitations. The fact that this is the researcher’s first attempt at a scientific study of this nature is in itself a limitation.

The evaluation of government policies on poverty eradication ordinarily should be based on findings from field survey in all the 774 local governments in Nigeria. This is not the case because, the researcher being a student had problem of time constraints and insufficient funding and so for these reasons, the survey is carried out in Obowo local government area of Imo State alone. As such, conclusions and recommendations made are based on the findings obtained in Obowo LGA.

1.9 Organization of the study

In order to provide in-depth information on the level of poverty in Nigeria and the appropriate policy prescriptions, the study is organized into five chapters: chapter one contains introduction, chapter two dwell on literature review, theoretical and empirical literature, chapter three cover the research methodology, chapter four dwell on data analysis, interpretation of results and chapter five is a summary of findings, conclusions and policy recommendations.

Regional Agricultural Programmes
Operation Feed the Nation (OFN)
Free and Compulsory Primary Education (UPE)
Green Revolution
Better Life Programme (BLP)
Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF)
Family Support Programme (FSP)
Agricultural Development Programme (ADP)
River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAS)
Universal Basic Education Programme (UBE)
Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP)
National Directorate of Employment (NDE)
Directorate for Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructures (DFRRI)
Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP)
Directorate of Social Mobilization (MAMSER
National Accelerated Food Production Programme
National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS)
Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP)
National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP)

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